Certain restaurants can be recession proof if run the right wayPosted: April 23, 2009
Sometimes you want to feel like you’re at home.
Even if it is at a bar on Friday night with a mixture of regulars, college students and one-time attendees.
The Globe, a restaurant and bar located on the corner of Lumpkin St. and Clayton St., is considered one of the better places to eat and have a drink in downtown Athens. But with the economy in the condition it’s in, The Globe proves there are ways to avoid hardship in bad times.
The Globe’s manager, Brent Hedrick, acknowledged businesses in downtown Athens suffering from the recession, but said consistent customers have kept The Globe away from disaster.
“There’s a lot of competition in Athens,” Hedrick said. “I think we’re lucky to have a lot of regulars. I think our lunches have kind of slowed down. People think of us more as a bar instead of a restaurant now. Sometimes we’re not as full as we’d like at lunch.”
Even with lunch not as packed as they have been in the past, Hedrick said the same people come regularly – something Hedrick said has helped The Globe maintain financial security during the recession.
“I think a lot of it is because there’s an ambience to this place,” Hedrick said. “We have a lot of friendly bartenders. When you’re in here, it feels like your home. Those two factors make it fairly homely, to come to a place and spend a couple of hours.”
Conversation is a key factor to The Globe experience, and Hedrick says people converse with each other and the bartenders about a wide range of topics.
“Oh, anything – we talk about gun control. We talk about grenade launchers,” Hedrick said, laughing. “We talk mostly about entertainment and politics.”
Bob May, a 46-year-old warehouse manager from Watkinsville, had just ordered a Newcastle beer before complementing his bartender’s red button-down shirt. May, a regular on Friday nights to The Globe, said he’s been a usual at the bar for almost a decade now.
“I’ve been coming to The Globe for about nine years now,” May said. “It’s the best place to come drink a few beers and relax. My friends come here, and I’ve made friends here. It’s amazing to have this kind of atmosphere in a town like Athens, where college students dominate the scene. It’s nice to have a mix of so many different types of people in one setting.”
Matt Runyan, manager of the restaurant Taco Stand in downtown Athens, said The Globe is “recession proof” because of its regulars, much like his restaurant.
“The Globe is a great example of a recession proof restaurant because all year they have consistent customers,” Runyan said. “I like to think Taco Stand is too because we do well during lunch and have a solid base come in to drink at night.”
University of Georgia student Audrey Batts, a 21-year-old art major from Dalton said she visits The Globe on a semi-regular basis. She said when it’s just her and a couple of friends, The Globe is where they go because of its relaxed environment.
“I love The Globe, the atmosphere, everything about it,” said Batts. “The place is lively and there’s always a good conversation. I’ve met many people, college aged, middle aged, it’s just a great place to hang out at.”
Hedrick said he knew of a couple restaurants and bars hurting in the downtown community but didn’t want to single them out. He said while there’s obvious competition among the local businesses, everyone is treated like family.
“We’re the oldest bar, really,” Hedrick said. “Georgia Bar is technically the oldest bar but they’ve changed ownership several times. But the same guys have owned The Globe for all 20 years we’ve been opened. So we’re kind of a stepping stone, I guess.
Hedrick added that The Globe is also looked to as a place for competitors to gather ideas on how to run, operate and manage their restaurants and bars.
“A lot of other bars have come here for ideas,” he said. “I think it’s accurate, but I don’t know if anyone else would admit it because no one wants to say they have stolen ideas. All the bars, it’s a real community feel. We all look out for each other. If it’s a busy weekend and we run out of vodka, we can run next door and grab some. All the restaurants and bars look after each other. We’re all in it together.”
Laura Bramblett, a bartender at Trapeze on Washington St., said the bar she works for has taken tips from The Globe – especially since Trapeze caters to an older audience.
“My manager has always looked at The Globe as a place to gather new ideas,” Bramblett said. “We don’t play loud music like The Globe, we dim the lights similar to The Globe. And I don’t feel we are copying them, it’s just a good idea so that people can have conversation without screaming into each other’s ears.”
Bramblett added Trapeze has attracted a lot of older locals that wish to relax when drinking as opposed to keeping on their feet. The Globe is this way, offering plenty of tables for seating and a full circular bar reminiscent if the show Cheers.
The Cheers-like environment is what makes The Globe appealing to May.
“It’s kind of like a townie bar, but not quite because there’s the occasional random crowd that will trek in,” May said. “But it’s all welcome here and that’s what’s great about this place.”
And as to the recession plaguing many American businesses, May said he would be devastated if The Globe were to be affected. But thankfully, he said, that’s not the case since he and other regulars drop in when they are expected to.
“Yeah, this place is probably recession proof,” May said. “Even if they were to be losing money or not making as much as they could, it would have to stay open. Where would I drink on Friday nights after a long week of work?”